Vietnam: Nothing can stand in Khang's way now he can see

August 2019

Khang, 6, from Vietnam was born with ptosis later developing a squint which - if left untreated - can cause blindness. Thanks to the help of our supporters and amazing partners enabling him to have the two sight-saving he needed, this bright boy can see without struggling again.

We first met Khang at his school. We watched him from the back of the classroom as Khang, glasses on, eagerly waved his hand in the air to answer a question. The subject is maths and Khang was so keen to get it right.

Later, when we sat together sitting on the floor of us his home playing with building blocks, he told us that maths and literature are his favourite subjects – apparently maths is “easy”.

Khang is a bright boy. His father told us that he likes school a lot and that he never wants to miss it – even for his surgery on board the Flying Eye Hospital!

Khang is an extremely bright boy. Maths and literature are his favourite subjects

Khang was born with ptosis. Quite a marked condition, his parents noticed immediately. When they discovered that a screening would be taking place at Binh Dinh Eye Hospital, they took Khang in the hope that something could be done to help. It was only then that Khang was also diagnosed with strabismus (squint), which – if left untreated – can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye) and from that, even legal blindness in the affected eye.

At this point, Khang had only been in nursery so his parents hadn’t realized quite how much he had been struggling with his sight.

Gallery: Life at home in Vietnam

I was told we had to go to Ho Chi Minh City for treatment, but we couldn’t afford it,” his father explains. But then they discovered that the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital would be visiting Binh Dinh, where the family live.

Khang underwent two surgeries – one to treat his strabismus, on board the Flying Eye Hospital, and a second to treat his ptosis, which took place at the partner hospital, Binh Dinh Eye Hospital.

No-one in the family had undergone surgery before and naturally the family were worried about their young son undergoing two.

Before the first surgery, I was a bit nervous - what if there could be complications? But then after they successfully did the first surgery, I was relieved… I was glad because there was modern equipment on the plane. Everyone in the family is happy. I want to thank all the members [supporters] of Orbis.

Khang's father

Now looking at Khang, you would never be able to tell he’d undergone two operations. He’s bright and a little cheeky. He teased us, saying that he “doesn’t remember anything” from his Flying Eye Hospital visit, although his parents assured us he was very excited to be on a plane.

Gallery: Life at school in Vietnam

Khang was distracted by his blocks – he had been building a robot. He was also drawing with colored pens and paper. He likes drawing dogs and cows in particular. His parents said that he also enjoys taking things apart and seeing how they work. Perhaps he has a career in construction ahead of him, we asked.

Yes,” Khang said, smiling. And now with clear vision, there’s nothing standing in his way.

Khang's impressive artwork

Now looking at Khang, you would never be able to tell he’d undergone two operations. He’s bright and a little cheeky. He teased us, saying that he “doesn’t remember anything” from his Flying Eye Hospital visit, although his parents assured us he was very excited to be on a plane.

Khang was distracted by his blocks – he had been building a robot - and coloured pens and paper – he enjoys drawing dogs and cows in particular. His parents say that he also enjoys taking things apart and seeing how they work. Perhaps he has a career in construction ahead of him, we asked. “Yes,” Khang said, smiling. And now with clear vision, there’s nothing standing in his way.

Right now there are around three million children who are visually impaired and 23,000 children who are blind in Vietnam. While blindness has decreased over the last decade, there are still millions of children unable to see the world around them - needlessly.

With your support we're increasing the skills of eye teams, especially those dealing with children, whilst taking a holistic approach to improve the quality of care available and help set-up referral networks - so critical to ensuring children like Khang can get the eye care they deserve.